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Old 10-06-2010, 08:23 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2010
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Opening a Restaurant is a Huge Pain in the You-Know-What

My Culinary Arts Department (meaning me since this is a very small department) is planning to open a student operated restaurant ... partially to give students some much needed hands-on industry oriented experience but also to defray food costs.

We're planning on selling flame grilled burgers, fries, and a daily changing (or weekly since we'll only be open once a week to start) plated meal.

The health inspector has already given us a preliminary inspection and we have a green light to proceed with the application. The application is straight forward enough ... but we also have to submit a scaled map showing the layout of the kitchen. We also have to list all equipment complete with model numbers and technical specifications.

I'm having my students map out the department. This was actually a straight forward process. Since we have tiled floors, the students simply had to count the number of tiles to create an outline of each room. They then had to identify the location of all major equipment including hand wash stations, prep tables, counters, etc.

The equipment list is actually giving me a headache. Since I don't have the technical manuals for any of the equipment, I'm having to look up technical specifications for each model on line.

Did you know that a Turbo Air two door reach in freezer has a 49 cubic foot capacity and weighs 466 pounds? It's amazing what you can find on-line. This is fascinating stuff ... NOT REALLY ...

I also have to take pictures of all equipment and once the application is submitted, the health inspector will come out and take more pictures ... which begs the question why do I have to take pictures to begin with and no George, you may not pose in front of the Turbo Air two door reach in freezer ... please move ... and yes I understand that your mother thinks you're adorable but the county sanitarian doesn't know you, so please step out of the way ... and no Michelle, we're not taking a class picture in front of the Turbo Air two door reach in freezer so if you and George would kindly get out of the way ... and yes, that's a very nice pose and if I was taking year book pictures I'd be thrilled, but I'm not taking a picture for the year book, I'm taking it for the county health inspector so please get out of the way ... and is there any reason why y'all are putting your culinary jackets on because we are NOT taking a class picture ...

(sigh)

The culinary students are understandably excited about opening a restaurant since I'll pay student workers by giving them free meals and extra credit. The non-culinary students are excited because we'll be selling flame grilled burgers and fries ... not the baked burgers and fries that the school cafeteria sells. The teachers are thrilled because we'll have plated meals with a dine-in option in our faculty dining room (storage area). The Career and Technical Education director is thrilled because every dollar we make is a dollar less that the district will need to fund my department. In time, we could conceivably be self funding except for my salary.

I know how to operate a restaurant and how to identify the production cost for each menu item ... but filling out the paperwork and making sure that all of the metaphorical i's are dotted and t's are crossed is really a pain in the you-know-what.

Since we're operating on a shoe string budget, I don't have a point of sale system but do have a calculator and cash box. I don't have a walk-in freezer but have this wonderful reach in. Have I mentioned that it's a two door unit produced by Turbo Air with a 49 cubic foot storage capacity?

(yawn)

And now ... if I only knew the cubic capacity of my two door Victory reach-in cooler, my day will be complete ...

(to be continued)

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Old 10-06-2010, 08:29 PM   #2
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Good luck! I would hate to go to all that. I just like playing in the kitchen once it's established!
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Old 10-06-2010, 09:42 PM   #3
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Maybe you could contact some local restaurants and equipment supply businesses who would be willing to donate some used equipment such as a cash register and other stuff.
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Old 10-07-2010, 12:40 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Maybe you could contact some local restaurants and equipment supply businesses who would be willing to donate some used equipment such as a cash register and other stuff.
Good idea ... but first I'm waiting to see whether the Arizona Department of Education will give me a $10,000 grant. If I get this grant, I'm buying a 3rd freezer, a point of sale system, a hot holding cabinet, a 3 drink beverage dispenser, and a bunch of hotel pans and sheet pans.
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Old 10-07-2010, 01:14 AM   #5
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Great story! I hope everything works out for you!!
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Old 10-07-2010, 09:58 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Chef Dave View Post
Good idea ... but first I'm waiting to see whether the Arizona Department of Education will give me a $10,000 grant. If I get this grant, I'm buying a 3rd freezer, a point of sale system, a hot holding cabinet, a 3 drink beverage dispenser, and a bunch of hotel pans and sheet pans.
That's even better! I hope that works for you.

I see a lot of work for you in the future but you will be preparing your kids for life in a very real way.
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